Intersectionality is an academic discipline that provides the ability to accurately calculate your level of social inequality by means of woke algebra. For the undecided electors of Wentworth, I thought it may be helpful to attempt an intersectional analysis of the candidates for the 2022 election in order to derive a score that rates them in terms of their levels of social stratification, ethnic diversity and inherited privilege.
Some years ago, I purchased a book on the topic of intersectionality in order to understand it better. A dog-eared copy of 2016’s Intersectionality by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge was thumbed through once again when commencing this analysis.
Turning to the first dog-eared page I found intersectionality introduced thus by Collins & Bilge (sounds like a 70s UK comedy duo):
Imagine a tilted football field that was installed on the side of a gently sloped hill with the red team’s goal on the top of a hill and the blue team’s goal in the valley. The red team has a clear advantage: when they try to score, gravity propels the ball towards the opponent’s goal. No matter how gifted, their team players need not work as hard to score.
Football fans would be outraged if the actual playing field were tilted in this way. Yet this is what social divisions of class, gender and race do – we all think we are playing on a level playing field when we are not.
The authors are both professors of sociology, which possibly explains their complete failure to understand elementary physics and how the game of soccer (football) works. It seems like they think the ball is gently rolled around the field until somehow, magically, it enters the opponent’s goal. In fact, the ball is propelled to great speed by the boot of the player, with considerably more force than that which is exerted on the ball by gravity.
Put Maradona’s 1986 World Cup-winning Argentinian side in the theoretical blue jersey and they would towel up pretty much anybody, sloping field or not. They might get a bit tired in the second half from running up the hill, but by then Maradona would have scored a triple, the team would be five goals ahead and could spend the second half standing around at the bottom of the hill to form a human shield blocking any potential attacks on their goal.
But I must bow to the authority of tenured academics. The treatise on intersectionality is probably now Holy Writ, so I will commence with an attempt to describe the variables and constants that can be used in an equation to calculate the value of ‘I’, the intersectional score for a particular candidate.
This will be derived from a range of variables such as A (non-Anglo ancestry), C (climate change commitment), G (generational privilege), and L (LGBTIQ+ compliance).
I will calculate Intersectionality thus, I = AP+(C-G)+L (The value of P will be introduced later)
By means of this equation, a one-legged Turkish lass from Lakemba who is transitioning while undertaking Gender Studies at Macquarie records a far higher ‘I’ ranking than a straight Sydney University law student who was captain of the First XV at Knox.
There are seven candidates that line up for our analysis:
Tim Murray – Labor
Dean Fisher – One Nation
Dominic WY Kanak – The Greens
Natalie Dumer – United Australia Party
Allegra Spender – Independent
Daniel Lewkovitz – Liberal Democrats
Dave Sharma –Liberal.
The Greens’ Dominic Kanak is quick out of the gates with a high ‘A’ score, as a man who identifies as Aboriginal and possesses the additional quality of visually appearing to be Aboriginal. He also supports taking local action on climate change, so that deserves a high ‘C’ score.
United Australia Party candidate Natalie Dumer is a practising dentist, so immediate minus points there. Everybody hates dentists. Plus, her fearless leader made his billions from iron ore, nickel and coal, so her ‘C’ score is negative a bajillion or thereabouts, knocking her out of the intersectionality contest.
Labour’s Tim Murray has a nice smile and seems like a capable fellow. He also wants climate change to “become a permanent part of the political culture that no conservative government can erase.” How this can be done without eradicating our right to vote seems a bit mysterious, but anyhow, instant high ‘C’ points for Tim.
Daniel Lewkovitz, of the Liberal Democrats, has the right surname for Wentworth, which contains the highest concentration of synagogues on the eastern seaboard, and he is “experienced with small business, security, defence and leadership.” Lewkovitz also went to the selective Sydney Boys High, so offers a rare challenge to Allegra Spender in terms of high school big noting, but sadly he is unlikely to trouble the scorers on polling day. Some might see that as a pity since he also has a sense of humour (as evidenced by the photo at right).
That leaves us with the two likely front runners, Dave Sharma and Allegra Spender. Who will win the Intersectionality Challenge? Read on to find out.
C (climate change commitment)
Allegra is playing the climate card to the max, although not as a simple tree-hugging Green. She is concerned over our reliance on overseas resources and the hit on the average hip pocket from rising petrol prices, apparently.
At a recent Sky News debate, she claimed, “We’re relying on expensive imported foreign oil which is both a security risk to this country but is also a cost-of-living issue,” she said.
Although not specified on her website’s FAQ section, Allegra presumably does not support offshore drilling in Bass Strait, off the Central Coast or anywhere else for that matter to help resolve the oil imbalance, or even the construction of a bunch of nuclear reactors to exploit the plentiful supplies of local uranium. So, it seems more like mock concern than anything.
Plus, she has no idea what a cost-of-living issue would even look like. Recently Allegra has been vocal on the importance of mandating the installation of EV charging stations in strata unit blocks in Sydney’s eastern suburbs as a means to achieve Net Zero 2030. When that happens, she promises to get rid of the big diesel SUV sitting out front of her Darling Point digs.
Dave Sharma is a climate catastrophist through and through, boasting he has steered the Morrison government towards its commitment to Net Zero 2050. The fact this is a transparently political ploy from the Lib/Nats to shift the assessment date sufficiently far away to be effectively meaningless impacts on Dave and puts Allegra well ahead on her ‘C’ score.
A (non-Anglo Ancestry)
Both Wentworth candidates are a mixed bag in terms of their multicultural credentials.
Ms Spender is the daughter of late fashion designer Carla Zampatti and former Liberal MP John Spender. Mum was a first-generation Italian immigrant which plays well, but on her father’s side she descends from a long line of wealthy and privileged eastern suburbs WASPs.
Devanand (Dave) Sharma, grandson of a Brahmin priest from Uttar Pradesh and son of an Indian immigrant, would seem to have unshakeable claims for supremacy in terms of his Ancestry score. However, while he is indeed the son of an Indian migrant, and therefore a worthy representative of the oppressed, he is simultaneously a descendent of one of the colonial oppressors.
A genealogist of my acquaintance has traced Dave’s maternal ancestry back six generations to a 21-year-old assisted immigrant from Cornwall who arrived in Sydney Harbour in 1857 on the sailing ship Herefordshire.
The lad was one of 416 ‘very healthy and well -behaved’ emigrants described by the ship’s surgeon. The Sydney Morning Herald noted approvingly, “Of these, “12 only were Irish.” Anti-Catholicism is a long-held Fairfax tradition. The paper continued, “… as a whole the emigrants are robust and healthy, and well selected to meet the requirements of the colony”
The requirements at the time were for young men with broad shoulders and strong hands, fit for backbreaking labour in clearing forests, planting crops, building, mining, laying railways and telegraph lines and thereby establishing a new nation in a land still pretty much untouched by European hands. Their achievements were hard earned and ultimately successful in creating a country that in 2022 is a touch away from becoming one of the top 10 world economies by GDP. Unfortunately, this storied tale impacts negatively on Dave’s ‘A’ score.
However, he may have some wiggle room, courtesy of what I have termed the ‘Pascoe variable’, represented as the (P) in our intersectionality equation. A prominent local author, farmer and academic has demonstrated that Cornish and Aboriginal ancestry are somehow fluid and may be transformed from one into the other via some sort of intersectional alchemy.
If this transformation can be applied, Dave may become qualified to drape a Possum coat over his shoulders, perform smoking rituals and have his ‘A’ score boosted significantly. Also, his kids won’t have to get the same high HSC marks as he did to get into a good university.
G (generational privilege)
Dave was brought up on Sydney’s North Shore and attended St Ives High, a plain vanilla public school, not the selective kind, although the catchment area draws from some of the wealthiest Sydney suburbs. If “S’nives” as it is generally known does contain any public housing it is very well hidden.
When he first challenged for the seat of Wentworth, Dave snapped up an entry level $2.8 million terrace in Paddington, although in 2021 he upgraded to a roomier $4 million house nearby. How he manages this on a federal MP’s salary of around $200,000, while outlaying the eye-watering school fees incurred by having two daughters at Ascham seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps he made some good investments or won Lotto.
Allegra is on another level entirely. Her younger years were spent at Headingly House, described as a “magnificent, secluded Georgian residence” when it was listed for sale in 2016. It sold for $13.1 million. After mum and dad split, she and sister Bianca moved into Carla Z’s “opulent Woollahra mansion”, as it was described in a Vogue profile in 2019, which drooled over the ‘exquisitely secluded four-bedroom Italianate-style building surrounded by a lush garden scattered with sculptures.’
After this, a glittering academic record: Head Girl and Dux at Ascham, Cambridge University, Harvard and Dartmouth College, etc. etc. While born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth Allegra did not rest on her laurels.
But while her many accomplishments are singularly impressive; they cannot improve her ‘G’ score one iota. If life is an uneven playing field, Allegra was delivered from the womb wearing roller skates and plonked on her two feet at the top of the slope.
L (LGBTIQ+ compliance)
Both Dave and Allegra demonstrated their LGTBIQ+ credentials with a pilgrimage to the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras in 2022. This is pretty much mandatory in an electorate where chemists and cake shops, barbers and bottle shops are encouraged to share their “Pride” by decorating their shopfronts with rainbow flags and window decals all year round.
Dave (above with colourful pals) showed up at Mardi Gras on the Liberal float doing a dad dance in a daggy white T-shirt with a Liberal logo. Meanwhile, Allegra (below) rocked a hot pink top and rainbow skirt on the “Independents for Inclusion” float, so she probably takes home the chocolates in that contest. The fact both are happily married to partners of the opposite sex and bringing up young families of the traditional nuclear kind is probably best left unsaid.
So, with the final Values tallied for Dave and Allegra, I plugged them into the aforementioned equation to deliver an overall intersectional score, and — hey presto, abra cadabra — each comes out with an equal ‘I’ rating of 29.5.
I checked my results with the handy online tool, the Intersectionality Score Calculator, and came up with pretty much the same result
We still have a few weeks remaining in the 2022 election campaign so it may come down to whoever faults first. For instance, Dave could be caught having a coffee at Fiveways with Katherine Deves, the Wicked Witch from Warringah, or Allegra’s reclusive husband could be revealed as part owner of a Hunter Valley coalmine and a keen big-game hunter. If their intersectional scores remain equal, the woke voters of Wentworth may have to turn to some other issues to determine their vote.
Defence and the economy might be good places to start.
Walter Waverley is the pseudonym of a Wentworth resident who prefers anonymity to grief from his woke neighbours